Google's Latest Web Speedup Strategy Aims at Apache
You have to hand it to Google. The company is often criticized for "throwing spaghetti at the wall and seeing what sticks," which refers to Google's practice of starting many ambitious projects only to shut them down later. However, the flip-side of that issue is that Google also has a certain take-no-prisoners attitude toward new projects, where no goal seems too lofty to reach.
Consider the fact that only a few years ago, when the web browser market seemed saturated, Google launched its Chrome browser and argued that browsers just weren't good enough. Now Chrome is a top browser. In the same vein, the company has been pursuing the seemingly vague and highly ambitious goal of "speeding the web up." And, sure enough, a mod_pagespeed extension from the company has just come out of beta testing and seeks to speed up very widely used Apache software layers.
According to a Google post:
"If your page is on the web, speed matters. For developers and webmasters, making your page faster shouldn’t be a hassle, which is why we introduced mod_pagespeed in 2010. Since then the development team has been working to improve the functionality, quality and performance of this open-source Apache module that automatically optimizes web pages and their resources. Now, after almost two years and eighteen releases, we are announcing that we are taking off the Beta label."
"Over 120,000 sites are already using mod_pagespeed to improve the performance of their web pages using the latest techniques and trends in optimization. The product is used worldwide by individual sites, and is also offered by hosting providers, such as DreamHost, Go Daddy and content delivery networks like EdgeCast. With the move out of beta we hope that even more sites will soon benefit from the web performance improvements offered through mod_pagespeed."
This was a shrewd move by Google. Many people underestimate just how prevalent Apache's server software is all over the web. Through a simple Apache extension, Google has been able to speed up countless web sites.
A faster web is in Google's best interests, as the latest post almost confirms: "mod_pagespeed is a key part of our goal to help make the web faster for everyone. Users prefer faster sites and we have seen that faster pages lead to higher user engagement, conversions, and retention. In fact, page speed is one of the signals in search ranking and ad quality scores."
Hey, if Google wants to make the web work faster, who is complaining? You can find out more about mod_pagespeed here.